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COVID-19 catches Senator Koko Pimentel

Senator Aquilino Pimentel III on Wednesday said he has tested positive for the coronavirus disease (Covid-19).

“I was informed late last night March 24, 2020 that I have tested positive for the Covid-19 virus. The swab was taken last Friday, March 20, 2020,” Pimentel, the second senator to test positive for the disease, said in a statement.
The first senator to test positive for Covid-19 was Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri, who confirmed last March 16 that he had the disease.
“Since the last day of session on March 11, 2020, I had already tried my best to limit my movement. I will call (to the best of my ability) those I remember meeting during those crucial days so that I can inform them of my test result,” he said.
Pimentel said he received the news at a hospital where he was accompanying his wife who was scheduled to give birth Wednesday morning.
“I received the call from RITM (Research Institute for Tropical Medicine) when I was already in the hospital last night, hence I left immediately,” he said.
“I would like to ask for your prayers, especially for my wife Kath, who is about to give birth in the next few days to our first baby girl, and with whom I cannot be at this very important point in our lives as parents,” Pimentel added.
At present, he said he has already quarantined himself “consistent with the protocol,” and urged the public to strictly observe social distancing, enhanced community quarantine measures, washing of hands and personal hygiene.
“They are the best strategies to beat this disease at this time. I have faith that together we can overcome these challenging times,” Pimentel said.
He also expressed his “profound gratitude” to the frontline medical workers who are putting their lives at risk on a daily basis to bring a halt to this pandemic, saying they are “the true heroes in this fight.”
To date, the Philippines has 636 confirmed cases of Covid-19, with 38 deaths. (PNA)


THE NUMBER OF CONFIRMED CASES of Covid-19 rose to 230 as of noon yesterday, March 20, said Department of Health (DOH) Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire yesterday afternoon at the DOH-sponsored “BEAT COVID-19 VIRTUAL PRESSER.”

The figure is 13 cases more against the 2017 cases of March 19, yesterday.

Vergeire also said one more corona virus patient died yesterday, raising the number of dead to 18.




Issues order as reports reveal some local leaders are lightly taking the COVID-19 protocol.

Transcript of President Rodrigo Dutete’s speech::


I want to say something very important to the LGUs. LGU refers to the local government units.

We are in a critical time. We have resorted to this extreme measure of an Enhanced Quarantine or quarantine for Luzon, because the magnitude of the threat that we are facing calls for it. By its nature, it severely restricts the freedom of movement of our countrymen, and thus deprives many people of the ability of earning a living for the coming weeks. 

Let me add my own words. I’m really very sorry but I have to do it.
Now I call [upon] LGUs. The national government needs your help during this time, but I want to tell you: Do not make this quarantine or quarantine more difficult for our people than it already is. LGUs should take note of this — that at this time let us make ourselves clear that we are not a separate from a republic or from each other.
There is only one republic here, the Republic of the Philippines. And therefore, you should abide by the directives of the national government when it sets abide by the directives of the whole for the good of the country and the protocols observed during the time of the lockdown.
Let me add that at this time I do not think it is just a quarantine or quarantine. I think that we are already in the stage of a lockdown simply because the contagion continues to take its toll in the countryside.
I know you have the mandate to deal with emergencies affecting your localities. I was a Mayor myself, in case you have forgotten. But this is an emergency of national proportions, and therefore it is the national government that should call the shots.
The national government body in charge of laying down the standards for this quarantine is the IATF or the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases.
Let that be clear to everyone. So when the IATF says: “Do not restrict the flow of cargo of whatever type”, then no LGU should say that they only follow or allow food or essential goods to come in. You are setting already your standards, and making this quarantine more difficult for all.
I am ordering all LGUs that are doing this to stand down, and to abide by the directives of the IATF, the task force not mine but the task force, and those issued by the Office of the President. And to make sure that what the IATF says should be closed, is closed, and those that should be open, stays open. 
You know, the only reason why you can impose these quarantine restrictions and impose it on everyone passing [through] your areas, is because the national government is allowing you to do so. But if you go beyond the standards that we have set, you are abusing your authority, and you know that it can lead to – administrative cases or even worse, unless you stop what you are doing and [cooperate] fully. Criminal cases cannot be far behind.
I am therefore directing the DILG and DOJ to closely monitor the compliance of LGUs with the directives of the office and to file the necessary cases against wayward officials.
You know let me be just… Sundin na lang natin tutal para man ito sa lahat. Do not try to overdo things or think that you can do what you want to do because that is not allowed. We, you know, move in one direction, in one unison, precisely to place the contagion in control for the better health of our Filipino, our countrymen. Wala namang gusto nito eh and we do not want to be lording it over your local governments because we do not want to do that. I do not want to do that — that’s an added task. Ayaw na ayaw ko ‘yan pero wala tayong magawa. Sundin lang natin. Ang ibig sabihin do not — huwag kang magbiyahe ng sarili mo, sa Tagalog pa. Kung sa jueteng, huwag kang magpalaro ng iba. Huwag kang magbiyahe. Isa lang, sa gobyerno lang. Pero ako sa jueteng alam ko hindi niyo sinusunod. Well, there will always be a time for that.
In the coming days, we will need the help of the LGUs more and more. So I want to make this clear early on. Let us work together to implement this quarantine, and it should all begin with the LGUs making sure that their actions are consistent with the national directives. To do otherwise would sow confusion. All over the world, there is confusion and chaos already because of these lockdowns. We are not the only ones into it. All countries of the world as a matter of fact are doing it. And that is why it adds more trouble than what is already there that we can handle.
We are not alone. But let our country lead the way in imposing a lockdown [that] is strict enough to effectively kill COVID-19, liberal enough so that our people will not die of hunger, and orderly enough, so that our country will not be driven towards chaos during this difficult time.
Problema kasi nito COVID-19 is passable — sa tao lang. It’s contact. ‘Yung handshake o ‘yung just maybe rubbing each other’s elbow.
We have to look further and think of the economic survival of the country even after this crisis is over.
Alam mo sa totoo lang, ang importante lang man malaman ninyo, we are imposing the social distance kasi nga ang transmittal tao lang ang pwedeng magbigay ng sakit na ‘yan sa’yo. Hindi anong — walang ibang bagay. Tao ang magbigay sa iyo ng sakit na ‘yan.
So iwasan mo ang kapwa mo tao. ‘Pag magdating ‘yung nagpautang sa iyo, magtago ka na nang husto. Okay ‘yan. Sabihin niya na nagtatago-tago ka. “Gusto kong bumayad, si COVID ang ayaw.”
‘Yung stranded, we will try to help you. The — your Air Force and your Army will help you wherever you are. Kung wala ka ng mauwian, kung wala na kayong matulugan, I am asking the military commanders of the different camps all over the country that you can go there and ask for accommodation at pagkain. And they will — they would only be too willing to help you. ‘Yan ang ating Army at Police. Bigyan kayo pagkain at tulugan. And in the meantime, they will try to communicate the authorities in Manila to — we will try to…
Anyway, makukuha ko kayo. That is a very terrible thing. You know, as a matter of fact, it would have been very cruel for you to drive away lalo na ‘yung mga bata nagbakasyon tapos walang mauwian, walang tatanggap.
I — my heart bleeds for them. Hindi mo malaman na kung saan ka pupunta. Pilipino ka naman pero wala naman tatanggap sa’yo. At to me, I can understand your refusal but more than your feeling. ‘Yung akin is to somehow protect and help Filipinos in distress.
As your President, I am now invoking the sanctity of my oath of office — to help people and my countrymen.
To all LGUs, let us move forward together with one accord, implement the lockdowns, and save our people from the dreaded disease, once and for all.
Ang pinaka-remedyo dito is just to — magkalayo kayo. Ngayon, kung ‘yung bahay ninyo sa bukid maliliit, eh dikit-dikit kayo, sabayan na lang din natin ng… Ano bang prayer — dasal. Sabayan na lang natin ng dasal na tutulungan ‘yung mga tao, mga Pilipino na hindi — they are not in a position. Wala sa kanilang kakayahan na mag-sunod ng mga social standing. Better still, just keep your distance from stranger or friends. Just so na maputol ‘yung contamination from A to B, B to C. Kay D putulin natin doon. ‘Yun ang maganda.
So it’s actually the socially intercourse that is bad at this time. I hope you can understand us at maintindihan rin ninyo kung ano ang ginagawa namin.
Maraming salamat po.

Duterte declares truce with Reds during Luzon-wide quarantine


President Rodrigo Duterte has declared a unilateral ceasefire with communist rebels to ensure the effective imposition of an enhanced community quarantine in the entire Luzon, Malacañang announced on Wednesday.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said Duterte ordered the military and the police to stop offensives against the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed and political wings, the New People’s Army (NPA) and the National Democratic Front (NDF).
The suspension of military operations takes effect on March 19 and expires on April 15, Panelo said.


JOMA: Reds to declare ceasefire to help fight COVID-19 if Duterte resumes peace talks


“In view of the imposition of the Enhanced Community Quarantine in Luzon amidst the threat of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) in the country, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte has decided to declare a unilateral ceasefire against the (CPP-NPA-NDF), effective 00:00H of March 19, 2020 to 24:00H of April 15, 2020,” he said.
Duterte placed the island of Luzon under quarantine until April 12 in an effort to contain the spread of Covid-19.
Earlier Wednesday, the Department of Health (DOH) reported 15 new cases of Covid-19 in the country, bringing the total number of infected people to 202.
The DOH also confirmed that 17 people died due to the disease.
Panelo said the declaration of unilateral ceasefire is to ensure government would be able to efficiently address the Covid-19 outbreak in the country.
“Through this ceasefire, the Philippine Government aspires that the swift provision of public health assistance goes unimpeded with the movement of health workers and medical supplies to communities, as well as of people in need of immediate medical attention remains unhampered,” he said.
Panelo said Duterte directed the Defense and Local Government departments, along with the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police, “to cease and desist from carrying out offensive military and police operations during the ceasefire period.”
“Both of these departments shall issue the corresponding orders to implement the declaration of the unilateral ceasefire, including the Suspension of Offensive Military and Police Operations,” he said.
People residing in Luzon are mandated to observe strict home quarantine and limit their movement during the month-long quarantine period.
CPP founder Jose Maria Sison on Tuesday said the CPP will consider Duterte’s ceasefire proposal amid the government’s efforts to contain the spread of

COVID-19 THREAT VS. DUTERTE: Short speech, aborted Boracay visit


President Rodrigo Duterte, Instead of delivering his usual long speech with offhand remarks, on Wednesday read his short prepared speech in Malacanang amid the government’s efforts to reduce the risk of spreading the Covid-19.

As a precautionary measure, Duterte will also abort his scheduled visit to Boracay Island today, March 12.

At the start of his speech, he explained that he was told to heed the advisory of the Department of Health (DOH) to avoid organizing or joining events that draw huge crowds in a bid to contain the spread of the disease.

Colonel Sara DuterteCONFIRMED.  Presidential daughter and Davao City Mayor Sara “Inday” Duterte stands up as her name was called during her confirmation as colonel of the Philippine Army Reserve Command by the Commission on Appointment at the Philippine Senate in Pasay City on Wednesday (March 11, 2020).  Sara became reservist of the Armed Forces of the Philippines in 2008.

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DUTERTE TO AFP, PNP: Finish communism, terrorism by mid-2022

Communists and terror groups create so much chaos and mayhem, loss of lives, and agony on communities

President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday ordered the military and the police to exhaust all means to end the problems on communism and terrorism before he steps down from office in 2022.


Duterte gave the directive to government forces on late Tuesday night as he lamented that the continuing presence of communists and terrorists in the country hampered the country’s development.

“I have always called it as an article of faith, but no progress or development in any nation — wherever it is — cannot really hope to grow if there is trouble. Itong atin dito, what ails us is many, the insurgency of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), then you have the terrorists,” he said during the annual general assembly of the League of Municipalities of the Philippines in Pasay.

Duterte said he could not afford to let the communist and terror groups “create so much chaos and mayhem, loss of lives, and a great agony inflicted on hard-hit communities.”

He said he wants to spend his remaining years in office looking for drastic measures to end the unlawful acts of the communists and terrorists in the country.

“I have two years. Frankly, I have asked the military and the police, kung kaya niyong tapusin, tapusin na ninyo ngayon (if you can finish it now, finish it now),” Duterte said. “Kung hindi ko ito matapos (If I won’t be able to stop it), then I have to pass this problem to the next generation.”

Duterte on December 5, 2017 signed Proclamation 374, branding the CPP and its armed wing, the New People’s Army (NA), as a terror organization because of their alleged acts “against the Filipino people, against humanity, and against the law of nations.”

The CPP-NPA is also tagged as terror group by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand.

Apart from the communist movement, several terror groups continue to pose threats in the country.

On May 23, 2017, Islamic State-linked Maute group laid siege to Marawi City in Lanao del Sur province, prompting Duterte to place the whole of Mindanao under martial law until December 31, 2019.

Martial law in the entire Mindanao was no longer extended following the drop in crime incidents in the southern Philippines and with Duterte’s confidence that state forces are on top of the situation to maintain peace and order in the besieged region even sans the implementation of military rule.

Fair distribution of public funds

Meanwhile, Duterte added that he was eyeing the fair distribution of public funds to local government units to fulfill his bid to improve the country’s economy and provide comfortable lives to Filipinos.

He said he would carry out his plan in his remaining years in office.

“Ang gusto ko lang sana sa last two years ko (What I want to do in my last two years is), if I can equitably distribute the money of the Republic to cover the entire Philippines on projects, malaki man o maliit (be it big or small). Basta meron ang lahat (I want everyone to receive the money),” Duterte said.

He said equal distribution of money to local governments would be a “new mindset for the months to come.”

“I do not want to leave projects unfinished,” he said. (PNA)